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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

How to Create Privacy in Your Yard and Woo Buyers

Hello everyone!  Today I have an excellent guest post about an issue that is seldom talked about when considering a home sale.  As homeowners, we worry about staging the inside of the house just right, making it immaculate in its appearance for all would-be buyers.  But what about the backyard?  Aside from landscaping it prior to an Open House, how else can you improve it, and increase your odds of a faster sale?  Read on and find out!

Garden, House, Green, Yard, Grass, Gardening, Plant

Privacy is what transforms your home into a sanctuary, and adds value to your property. If you're thinking about moving, a $20,000 investment in landscaping your yard can add as much as $200,000 to your home's value.

It might be that you want to screen your yard from your neighbor's view, add "curb appeal," or simply drown out noise from a busy nearby street. Beyond just using an electric lawn mower to maintain your property, landscaping gives homeowners a variety of options to create secluded yard spaces that offer privacy and refuge from the outside world while adding to the overall value of the property.

Consider Your Outdoor Space

Upgrading your garden to bring privacy to your home can add 10-15% to its value. Additionally, some trees and shrubs will actually increase in value as they grow.

Often, details such as the proximity of your neighbor's patio to your own are overlooked by home builders and planners. But, as the saying goes, "Good fences make good neighbors." Both fences and plantings can be used to create a secluded yard that offers privacy, a connection with the natural world, and appeals to buyers.

Smaller yards benefit from a well-planned patio or deck. These add significant value and give potential buyers the highest "joy scores" according to HouseLogic's recent consumer survey.

Pergolas over seating areas provide beautiful overhead screening for built-up areas. Water features such as small fountains or self-contained planter waterfalls can also help to mask the sound of neighbors and traffic.

Larger gardens can make use of bigger shrubs and trees, statuary, arbors, fountains, and even fire places. These features should be mixed in with standard wooden fences, lattice work, mixed fencing such as metal topped with lattice, or even stone walls.

There is a wider range of options for larger gardens in terms of fencing and plant selections that allows you to let loose your imagination as long as the end result is organized and professional.

Don't Fence Me In

Don't limit yourself to a standard high wooden fence to create privacy. This can backfire without additional planting and other details, leaving you feeling hemmed in rather than tucked away. This sensation will turn buyers away from your property.

Hedges are a great alternative to standard fences. They allow for airflow while still creating a wind break and screening your yard from view.

Mixed hedges will produce interest year-round if you combine deciduous and evergreen plants. But, take care to choose plants that have similar growth heights and widths to stop it from looking chaotic and turning buyers away. Another advantage to mixed planting is that it provides better protection against pests.

Lattice work and arbors can give your garden added interest, especially when combined with climbing vines or tumbling roses. Lattice fencing still allows light in and air to flow as it creates a softer screen between your yard and the outside world.

Tall wooden fences can be softened and used to extend small spaces by adding clamoring vines, edible climbing plants, and vertical gardens. Besides looking stunning, these plants will release beautiful scents that attract wildlife and interested buyers alike.

Image result for backyard designs

Planting for Privacy and Increasing Home Value

Plants can be used to create a secluded area in a corner of your garden, transforming the space into a delightful nook that will indulge all the senses. Well placed planters filled with tumbling blooms or colorful shrubs can give additional privacy in both small and large yards when incorporated around a seating area.

If using planters, make sure you have adequate drainage and remember to feed and water the plants regularly to keep them in top condition. Unkempt plants will reduce buyer attraction, even if you intend to take them with you when you move.

Boundary walls can be enhanced with planter/water feature combos that will add both attractive colors and scents. However, if you choose to move away from hardscaping elements such as walls and fences, consider over-sized grasses such as Pampas or Yakushima Dwarf grasses. Use them on their own or back these grasses with larger, mid-height to tall trees for additional interest.

Bamboo plants and screens give you yet another option to create more privacy and add value to your property. Screening allows light to flood your garden while distorting outside views. If you'd prefer to plant bamboo as a screen around the perimeter of your yard, golden bamboo is a popular variety that grows quickly.

Well-planned landscaping can increase the value of your home and decrease the amount of time you wait for a sale. Avoid a disorganized, open layout that offers little privacy when you're in the yard.

Mature gardens that are well-tended increase a home's value even more. Luckily, there are also shorter-term landscaping options that can enhance any yard space to create a professional look that increases the value of the offers you'll get for your home!

Anita Franco

Friday, April 6, 2018

Is It Safe to Buy Used Automotive Parts Online?

What's up everybody!  You know that everyone has turned to online shopping for the best deals, not even bothering to check their local brick and mortar stores sometimes.  Amazon and Ebay are my favorite "stores" to shop at virtually.  When it comes to needing automotive parts, however, I think many people still would rather visit their local Autozone, O'Reilly's, etc.  Unfortunately, these stores only sell brand new items you may need.  So, you're going to be paying top dollar for a part you may not need to be new.

On this blog I've written about my experience shopping for automotive parts on eBay, namely, to have my wife's Nissan Rogue's air conditioning unit completely replaced by my mechanic friend.  I never really considered whether or not shopping for used parts on that site was something "safe" to do.  I just went ahead and did it.  This next guest post explains how to best go about shopping for used automotive parts online.  Enjoy!

Image result for automotive parts

We live in a fast paced digital world where having something in an instant is becoming accepted as the norm.  The Internet, which you may be surprised to learn was first created in 1989, is a key part of this.

The Internet provides the opportunity for many to start businesses and contact people across the globe.  Unfortunately, it has also become a place that is rife with scams; people who are eager to take your money without giving you the service or product you wanted.

In fact, it's estimated that 1 in 10 people are now the victim of cyber crime.

This leads us to the issue of used automotive parts.  There is no doubt that it can save you a fortune but is it safe to buy them?

The simple answer is yes, but you need to consider the following factors before you buy.

Do Your Research

There are huge companies online that specialize in used automotive parts.  There are also small dealers which you can learn about here who will offer you an attractive price on used and even new parts.

It's an extremely competitive marketplace.  

Before you select a supplier take a look at their website and check these things:

Time Established

In general the longer a business has been established the safer it is to use them.  Scam sites tend to come and go fairly quickly.

Of course this makes it difficult for genuine new businesses.  This is why you should also consider the following two points:


If you ask around with your friends and look at their websites you should see a list of positive comments.  These might be in the form of testimonials.

Hearing from others that the business offers a good service is reassuring and generally indicates that the service is genuine.


More important is the feedback these businesses get on social sites and even on Amazon.  This is produced by "verified buyers" and provide an honest opinion.

There will always be some negative reviews, after all, no company can keep every single customer happy.  But, provided the majority of reviews are positive you are likely to have found a good supplier.

Image result for automotive parts

Testing the Water

It is also a good idea to call the supplier and assess their response and friendliness.  This is likely to carry through in their service.

If you're ordering an expensive used part it can also be a good idea to order a small part first, to test the water.  You can even test their return policy in the process!

Double Check

You should also ensure that they're supplying the part you want.  Used automotive parts can be different by even just one year of registration.  It's essential they send you the right one.  A good supplier won't mind you verifying this several times.

As a final point it's worth noting that if you're after a particularly rare used part then it may be a better idea to visit the supplier in person.  This will allow you to assess their set-up and legitimacy.

Thanks for reading! 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Paid $70 for IKEA Bunk Beds With Two Mattresses!

What's up everybody!  I'm baaaaaack!  These days I write just for fun so I apologize if you're not getting my wisdom every other day, haha!  Anyways, what are you currently in need of?  You know, there's always something the consumer in us needs.  Whether it's a new cell phone, car, dryer, washer, refrigerator even, it never ends, right?  My wife and I both need cell phone upgrades currently, but alas, we don't want to spend that kind of money at the present moment.  Easy to say, "Oh, we'll just do the payment thing and pay it off little by little."  But folks, think about it, it's still in the end a whole bunch of money you had to pay.  So we're doing things differently these days.

Image result for kids in a bunk bed

Our new strategy is to get one thing we need each month.  For example, last month (Feb) we got our male kitten Gus, neutered.  We didn't want him impregnating his little sister so...you get the idea.  We paid like $150 for everything, shots and surgery, etc.  Next month, April, we plan on getting Verucca spayed.  This necessity will be closer to $200.  This month, we decided it was definitely the time to get our two kids some longer beds.  We couldn't put them through the torture of sleeping on the floor any longer (they didn't like their beds).  After talking with them about it, they opted for bunk beds.

Where do you think I turned to online first?  Amazon?  You'd be wrong.  Nope.  My first instinct was to visit Craig's List, San Diego county, to see if I could find deals.  My wife had been on that new Facebook feature that's like a Craig's list, where you can look at things people are selling.  She found some bunk beds, but didn't like the color of the wood, fake wood, whatever.  There were several more options on Craig's List.  And I even found two that were to my wife's liking.  But when I looked to contact the seller, guess what?  These people only allowed contact via email.  I emailed them with my serious inquiry, but got no reply.  If you want something sold, why not list your phone number?  I get that people don't want to get bothered on their phone, but why sell something to the public at Craig's List then?

I've posted several things for sale on Craig's List and each time I leave my name, Carlos, and phone number.  People text me immediately.  And I get buyers for my used items quickly.  I'd rather deal with incoming calls and text messages than answer a stupid email.  But that's just me.  Anyways...back to my story.

The used bunk beds on Craig's List were selling as low as $150 (crap furniture) to as high as $650 (yeah, right...may as well get new).  When CL didn't get me anywhere, I turned to Amazon.  For $285 I was out of the metal frame options and into wood.  It was under my budget of $300, but I also had to pay taxes (I have Prime so shipping is free).  While my wife and I were debating the Amazon option, my long-time tenant and friend, Gunny Sgt. Liu, who had come downstairs from his room, decided to chime in.  "Try Pendleton Bookoo!" he said.  We're like, "Pendleton, what?"

Pendleton.bookoo.com is an online yard sale where Marines can make some fast cash selling their used items.  I had no idea this site even existed, but it was a great thing my buddy did!  I went on the site and typed in "bunk beds" into the search bar.  To my surprise, an IKEA Hemnes bunk bed came up, being sold for only $70 with two mattresses included.  The seller described the mattresses on his ad as being in good condition, still inside their white fabric protector.  The frame itself was also described to be in good condition, but with a few scratches.  It was worth a contact.

I contacted the seller, hoping the item was still available.  He got right back to me within minutes.  See folks, leave your number on your ads!  I inquired some more about the items, and we texted back and forth about a suitable time to make a possible transaction at his residence on base.  Two things here: 1) I personally don't have access to Camp Pendleton and 2) I don't have a truck.  But my tenant has both!  Ha!  Gunny Liu was kind enough to drive me into base at night (this was the seller's night off) and help me load the bunk bed parts after inspection and approval.

The next day, my wife began putting the bed together on her own in the kid's room while I was at work.  That, Jessica...she's a crafty one I tell ya.  I got home and she had half of the frame up already.  IKEA assembly takes getting used to.  The seller had placed all the little Allen wrench screws and tools in a zip-lock bag.  The whole time were were afraid we would have missing parts.  That's a risk you take when buying used.  Indeed we were.  Three metal dowels were missing.  These fit in the holes that connected one top bunk rail to the head board.  I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep at night knowing these dowels weren't in place, even if the screw holding the two pieces together was.  So I made a trip to my local Lowe's and found a set of metal dowels with the right cylindrical diameter for less than $2.

We wanted our kids to sleep in their bunk beds that same night, so Jessica and I double timed it, finishing almost at 8:45 p.m., a little past the kid's bed time, but they didn't mind.  They were so excited.  So were the adults.  We put new Minion bed sheets on the mattresses and tucked them in without a bed time story because, well, it was late!  Here are some pictures I took to capture the moment:

climbing up for the first time.

The final product.

I gotta say, this was the best furniture purchase I have ever made.  $70 for a great bunk bed with mattresses...are you kidding me!  So, if you live near a military installation, the lesson of this post is, give yard sales real or virtual, a chance.  Ask a serviceman or servicewoman if they have yard sales at their base.  Befriend someone in the military and see if they would be willing to help you find a lightly used item you desperately need.  It worked for my family!

Thanks for reading.  Until next time.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Why You Should Start A Freelance Business In 2018

What's up everyone!  Today I have another installment from our contributor, Makeda Waterman.  She's done a great job filling us in on why starting a freelance business in 2018 is the thing to do.  Enjoy!

Image result for Freelancing

There is a fascination with the freelance lifestyle of YouTubers, bloggers, photographers, and side-hustlers.  So much so that freelance is a huge trend for people with the entrepreneurial spirit here in Canada. A Workvine and Gallup survey reveals that 67% of the international workforce is disengaged at work.  Many of these workers are no doubt thinking of other ways to make income.

In a recent discussion with Ilias Tsagklis, founder of WealthTriumph.com, he stated, "Given its importance, you would expect entrepreneurs to cautiously track and monitor their incoming and outgoing flows of cash."  It is essential to know in and outgoing business transactions to be fully cognizant of how cash is moving in your business, especially during your first three years when your risk of failing is highest.

I researched the benefits of owning a side business for people who intend on keeping a full time job.  Here they are:

You Oversee the Hiring of Top Talent

In a traditional job, it's difficult to select new members of the team unless you're the hiring manager.  As an entrepreneur, you can find and hire talented people who will help you both increase productivity and revenue.  So they don't "disengage" at work, I recommend you use on-site employee engagement initiatives like massage therapy and well-being programs to keep your workers loyal to your organization.

When looking through resumes, here is a list of action words to key in on:

Listened To
Worked With
Communicated With
Responded To

The next stage of the hiring process is to create a list of questions that specifically address the needs of your peculiar business and business model.

Business Grants and Financing

There are many agencies offering small business loans and grants, especially if you're a minority or women.  If you're new to business start-up, it can be a real challenge to walk into your local bank and ask for a business loan.  Buying an existing business is a little easier, but still a challenge.

There are also programs offering financing and monies for people with disabilities.  There is probably many opportunities out there for various groups of people, one just has to look for them!

Image result for starting your own business

At-Home Businesses Offer Tax Deductions

An office at home used to conduct a personal business qualifies for tax deductions.  To get the most deductions, you'll need to be meticulous about keeping all your receipts, invoices, and entering your expenses on a spreadsheet. Furniture, equipment, supplies, and business magazine subscriptions, all qualify as tax deductible items.  Here are additional business expenses you can report:

Bad Debt
Administrative Costs

Women On Maternity Leave

Did you know that maternity leave can result in an income reduction of up to 40%?  At a time in a woman's life when a consistent income is a matter of survival, an at-home or part-time business can help sustain a lifestyle as a woman nurses a baby at home before returning to work.  Here are 9 side-hustles for moms.

Final Thoughts

One of the most important parts of a business is to keep the customer happy, so they can return to your website or place of business.  If you're going to start a freelance business, it's imperative that you're passionate about what you're doing.  You'll have a likelier chance of success this way.  In 2016, 1.9 million Canadians were self-employed and thus numbers keep rising every year.  Now is the time to pursue your next big venture!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

What to Do with Extra Disposable Income?

Today I have a great guest post for you.  More awesome ideas on what to do with any disposable income you come into.  Enjoy!

If you've recently come by some disposable income, you may not be sure what to do with it.  You can spend it all right away, but some people will agree that it's not the best idea.  Of course, the next option is to put it into a savings account.  However, with interest rates being what they are, you may not be enticed by the prospective gains.

Fortunately, in our modern world, you are not limited to a single course of action.  There are plenty of options for a person who is willing to do a bit of research and put some trust into alternative sources of income.

Invest In Gold Or Other Precious Metals

Not only is gold one of the oldest and most trusted currencies in the world, but it's also among the most stable ones.  Many people turn to gold in times of crisis because it's tangible and valuable.  However, if you decide to invest in gold, you don't even have to have gold in your immediate possession.  You can store your gold safely in the specialized vaults of financial institutions and just reap the benefits.

However, you need to know when and how to invest in gold, since it has its peaks and nadirs.  You should consult with experts if you want to invest in precious metals.

Peer To Peer Lending

One of the most intriguing and novel approaches to money lending is P2P or peer-to-peer lending.  In essence, people can put their money at the disposal of others through a platform such as Silverbullion.com.  The return you can expect from this type of investment is much higher than your standard savings account.

These loans are protected because you're never lending a full sum to a borrower, just a fraction.  If the borrower defaults, you only ever lose a fraction of your money, which can be easily recuperated.  If you're interested in learning more about P2P lending, go here: About Loans For Lenders Guide.

Buy A Car Park

If you have a longer investing time frame, you should invest in real estate to let.  Things like flats and offices are great investments, but they do come with high maintenance costs as well.  Car parks, on the other hand, require very little in the form of maintenance, AND they're a necessary part of modern civilization.

Car parks in city centers, as well as airports and large sporting venues tend to be the most lucrative, but any car park is certain to generate steady income, and recover your initial investment several times over if you hold it long enough.

Vintage Items

Buying a vintage classic car may seem to many like a mid-life crisis thing to do, but it can actually be a really smart investment.  Not only can you drive it and show off, but you may be able to sell it for a lot more money than you paid for it whenever you decide to sell.  However, you should consult with a classic car expert before you sink a considerable amount of money into this endeavor.  Some vintage cars may not have the necessary allure to be considered a "classic" so your money may be wasted.

You may also try investing in fine wines and spirits.  There are some producers whose wines are surprisingly a stable and opportune investment option if you know where to look.  Just make sure you aren't tempted to drink your investment!


Whether you feel tempted to actually mine it, or you're more interested in trading them, cryptocurrencies are the big new thing in the financial world.  However, not everyone trusts these unregulated currencies, which is one reason their prices fluctuates so wildly.  The recent drop in the value of Bitcoin is perhaps a cautionary tale to be mindful when you put your trust into something so new and untested.

On the other hand, there are numerous other cryptocurrencies being created, which seems to tell us that this phenomenon is here to stay.  Putting your trust in these investments may be a big risk, but it could also bring a huge reward.

Invest In A Hotel

Finding the right kind of investment for yourself can be difficult, but hotels never go out of fashion.  Particularly in towns that attract many tourists.  You can have a hotel built, but there is a lot of paperwork to be done and permits to be issued.  The easier way of going about this is to buy an existing hotel or at minimum having a stake in one.  You'll get a portion of the profits each month, and you can stay at your own hotel any time you want!


As you can see, you don't have to be limited by banks and boring paperwork if you want to put your money to good use.  All you need is sound information and a willingness to take the plunge.

--Jaye Krause    

Monday, February 5, 2018

Neither Obama's Nor Trump's Stock Market

I find it somewhat amusing that people, devout members of either political party here in the U.S., attribute the success or failure of the stock market to the President.  They're obviously misinformed.  They have fallen for the partisan propaganda machine that each party can wield at any time whenever suitable.  The media fans the flame of this misconception to get ratings, clicks, subscriptions, and so on.

Image result for Trump Stock Market quotes

During the State of the Union Address, President Trump made a typical Presidential error.  I say "typical" because I'm pretty sure President Obama did it too.  Trump took to congratulating himself and the Republican party for the added rise in the stock market since his 1st day in office.  It's a vote getting move, and you use what you have at your disposal to sway feeble minds.  If the market keeps progressively declining all the way to November, when the next elections take place, the Republican party will be hush on the stock market.  That's a guarantee.  Democrats will be loud, blaming the Republicans for the market drop.  Again, it's politics.

The people buy it.  They take to Twitter and Facebook, and everywhere else to talk the state of the stock market as it relates to politics.  If you're a Trump supporter, you defended the 1,100 plus point DOW point bloodshed today, no doubt using stupid arguments like: "It's still well above where Obama had it!"  Or, "It's an up and down market and it will come back!"  If you're anti-Trump, you had a great day, imagining Trump having to eat his words.  The fact is, Presidents have no control over stocks, bonds, and the markets.  But don't just take my word for it.  Let's examine the Obama presidency and compare it to the fledgling Trump presidency.

"Obama was a socialist!"

Republicans and conservatives hated the Obama presidency (Jan 20, 2009- Jan 20, 2017), taking every possible opportunity to critique him.  Similar to what the liberals and Democrats are doing with Trump today, right?  Obama was said to be "anti-business."  He spearheaded Dodd-Frank, and signed it into law on July 21, 2010, regulating the banking industry.  This should've been bearish for stocks, especially the financials.

What about corporate taxes?  During both of Obama's terms, the corporate tax rate was a whopping 35%!  One of the highest in the world.  Companies had to to send their free cash abroad to keep it from such heavy taxation.  Certainly this anti-business, anti-Republican (trickle down) policy should have been bearish for stocks.  I can recall good ol' Larry Kudlow on CNBC tearing Obama a new one almost every evening for his anti-stock market stance.

But what truly happened?  Was Obama's seemingly "socialist" position enough to derail the bull market?  No!  Under Obama, the stock market had a cumulative return of 233% and an annualized return of 16%.  Only President Clinton bested him.  But I'm not here to laud the work of Obama.  On the contrary, I'm here to say that one cannot attribute the rise OR fall of a market to what Presidents do.  Obama was Johnny On The Spot, inheriting from his predecessor one of the worst market conditions since the Great Depression.  And he reaped the benefits of what inevitably happens after a major stock market decline, a stock market rally!

Trump is a Businessman Who Is Pro-Businesses 

There is no debating Trump's 2017 Jobs Act and the Republican tax cut plan that lowered the corporate tax rate to 21% is pro-business.  It should be bullish for stocks.  In fact, the prospect of Trump becoming President and then the actual event of it was enough to produce a bullish signal.  Dubbed the "Trump-trade," many investors made money when Trump took office.  The Trump-trade is no more.  Old as Trump himself.

Companies are flush with cash.  Mad Money host, Jim Kramer, believes that things are not the same as they were immediately following the crash that gave birth to the Great Recession.  No...things are way better!  And he's not wrong about that.  Companies are repatriating their cash and not having to pay insane amounts of taxes doing it.  The economy, for all intents and purposes, is great!  Low unemployment.  Wages are starting to rise in some places.  Inflation is under control.  So what gives?  Why has the stock market tanked the past couple of days?

Image result for history of bull and bear markets since 1926

Trump supporters take note.  Your President inherited a bull market that may be on its last legs, meaning Trump is late to the party.  Through no fault of his own, he was elected at a time when the stock market was on year 7 of gains.  Since 1926, the average bull market  has been 9 years!  The Trump presidency still has three more years to go.  Even if the market should bounce back from this week's and last week's losses, the odds are heavily stacked against Trump.  Screaming "Make America Great Again" (MAGA) won't protect Trump or the Republicans from the whims of the market or its bear cycles.  If a Democrat was in office today, Hillary or whoever, they too would be at the mercy of stock market factors and cycles.

The Factors That Dictate Market Performance

There are certain factors that dictate how the market performs overall over time.  Economic markers are by far the greatest contributors to market performance.  Things like the amount of available cash in the economy, credit opportunity, wage growth or lack there of, employment, inflation, asset price appreciation, and so on.

The policy of the Fed in response to changes in the economy also dictate how the market will (or should) perform.  For example, when the Fed lowered the Feds Fund Rate to spur the economy after the crash of 2007, this was a bullish signal for the stock market.  And indeed, the market went on an epic tear.  The money went from safety (Bonds) to stocks in droves.  Nobody wanted a 10-year T-bill that was offering less than a 2% yield back then!

Of course you can also count on the fact that after each bear there will be a bull, and after each bull, there will be a bear.  So pay attention to the (roller coaster) ride!

Nobody Knows...

Nobody knows when a bull market will come to an end, or vice versa, when one will begin.  Nobody knows when a bear market will come to an end, or when one will begin.  Trump may be the greatest President whoever lived to some of you, but even he is no match for Mr. Market.  If you don't invest in the stock market, do yourself a favor and leave talk of the stock market out of your everyday conversation, especially if you are listening to talk radio or your favorite news channel.  Know that no President can help you make money in stocks.  It all falls on what you know, what you don't know, and what nobody knows.    

*If it seems to you liked I bashed on either Obama or Trump, you didn't get it.  Please re-read.

Friday, February 2, 2018

How Should Newbies Approach A Declining Stock Market?

What's happening everyone?  The stock market has had the worst weeks since before Trump's election.  It's a good thing the State of the Union was a couple of days ago, huh?  The DOW is down over 1000 points!  The S & P 500 is down over 100 points.  And the worldwide "growth" thesis is severely under pressure.  Stocks have just been slammed worse than a WWE wrestler going through a wooden table.

Image result for WWE wrestler going through a table

Is this the beginning of a worldwide bear market OR is it simply a speed bump, a time to catch one's breath so to speak?  Obviously it's too early to tell, but for market veterans, making money will require lots of Alpha so your stock picking game better be on point!

Declines like this gather particularly more scary energy when they come after years of seeing nothing but growth.  People who are risk averse will have a hard time staying in the market.  Many of them high-tailed it out already.  This isn't a time to panic though my peeps.  Keep your head!  This particular "dip" in the market is a great time to buy some stocks, and indeed, even the entire market via an ETF or mutual fund albeit in small increments.  So today, I have a way market newbies, those that have never invested in stocks, can lose their virginity and finally get in the game!

Image result for Market is tanking

5% At A Time

This approach is based on how much money you have saved for investing purposes, i.e., discretionary money.  Don't go pulling cash out of your credit card!  Let's say you have $10K to invest.  If I were you, I'd take 5% of this amount and buy every time the market loses a total of 300 or more (DOW) points.  First, you don't ever go "all-in" with your money.  This approach allows you to buy the dips.  Imagine a mile long road with multiple speed bumps.  You don't know when the speed bumps are coming, but when they do you have to be ready to plow ahead and not slow down.  Plow ahead means hitting the "Buy" button in this metaphor.

Listen, there is a 100% chance that the market will drop and go bearish after damn near 10 years of a bull-run.  It may not all happen in one fell-swoop.  Over the course of 2018, you can expect more market drops.  Heck, the market may even recover from this horrible week and get back to its epic tear.  But it will go bearish overall; it's just a matter of time.

Newbies who therefore buy-in systematically, 5% of their total available investing cash, will gradually lower their "cost-basis" and not be in "too early."  If the market goes up from here and you only plucked in 5% once, that's okay, you made some money...but don't buy in again until another major dip.  The bull is running on fumes!  Is this timing the market?  Yes, duh!  But it protects you from major losses if you invest a higher percentage of your money at one time.

Periodic Investing via Mutual Fund

Making periodic purchases of a mutual fund is the traditional approach to being in the market long-term.  Mutual funds allow you to make lump-sum share purchases, or to buy shares once a month on the designated date.  You have to authorize the mutual fund company (or your custodian) to withdraw funds from a linked bank account of your choice.  You get to decide how much you want to invest every month.

Drawbacks to this approach is that you first have to buy a minimum amount of shares to get into the fund.  Some mutual funds require a minimum purchase amount between $3K and $5K.  So already you're stuck putting in more money at one time than you may want.  If you're going to buy a mutual or exchange traded fund that tracks the overall stock market (an Index fund), get one that comes with the lowest possible fees at least.  Vanguard is a leader of low fees.  Their Total Stock Market Index Fund (ticker: VTSMX) has an expense ratio of only 0.15%.  Also look for "Low Turnover."  Turnover is how often managers are trading (buying and selling) the individual stocks they hold in the fund.  The more they "turnover" the more they charge!

Alright, it looks like the bloodshed has begun my peeps.  This is no time to panic or get skittish.  Have a game plan and plenty of patience.  This may just be the start to the downturn so don't put in all of your money at once and too frequently or you'll run out of capital to invest with.  Good luck!